The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics
World, Finitude, Solitude

Translator's Forewardxix


The Task of the Course and Its Fundamental Orientation, Starting with a General Elucidation of the Title of the Course

Chapter One

The Detours toward Determining the Essence of Philosophy (Metaphysics), and the Unavoidability of Looking Metaphysics in the Face


§ 1. The incomparability of philosophy.


a) Philosophy neither science, nor the proclamation of a world view.


b) The essence of philosophy not to be determined via the detour of comparing it with art and religion.


c) The escape route of determining the essence of philosophy via a historical orientation as an illusion.


§ 2. Determining philosophy from out of itself, taking our lead from a word of Novalis.


a) The withdrawal of metaphysics (philosophizing) as a human activity into the obscurity of the essence of man.


b) Homesickness as the fundamental attunement of philosophizing, and the questions concerning world, finitude, individuation.


§ 3. Metaphysical thinking as comprehensive thinking: dealing with the whole and gripping existence through and through.

Chapter Two

Ambiguity in the Essence of Philosophy (Metaphysics)


§ 4. The ambiguity in philosophizing in general: the uncertainty as to whether or not philosophy is science or the proclamation of a worldview.


§ 5. The ambiguity in our philosophizing here and now in the comportment of the listener and of the teacher.


§ 6. The truth of philosophy and its ambiguity.


a) Philosophy presents itself as something that concerns everyone and is understood by everyone.


b) Philosophy presents itself as something ultimate and supreme.


α) Philosophical truth in its semblance of absolutely certain truth.


β) The emptiness and non-binding character of the argument of formal contradiction. The truth of philosophy as rooted in the fate of Dasein.


γ) The ambiguity of the critical stance in Descartes and in modern philosophy.


§ 7. The struggle of philosophizing against the insurmountable ambiguity of its essence. Philosophizing stands on its own as the fundamental occurrence in Dasein.

Chapter Three

Justifying the Characterization of Comprehensive Questioning Concerning World, Finitude, Individuation as Metaphysics. Origin and History of the Word 'Metaphysics'


§ 8. The word 'metaphysics'. The meaning of φυσικά.


a) Elucidation of the word φυσικά. φύσις as the self-forming prevailing of beings as a whole.


b) λόγος as taking the prevailing of beings as a whole out of concealment.


c) λόγος as the saying of what is unconcealed (ἀληθέα). ἀλήθεια (truth) as something stolen, something that must be torn from concealment.


d) The two meanings of φύσις.


α) The ambivalence of the fundamental meaning of φύσις: that which prevails in its prevailing. The first meaning of φύσις: the φύσει ὄντα (as opposed to the τέχνη ὄντα) as regional concept.


β) The second meaning of φύσις: prevailing as such as the essence and inner law of the matter.


§ 9. The two meanings of φύσις in Aristotle. Questioning concerning beings as a whole and questioning concerning the essentiality (the being) of beings as the dual orientation of questioning in πρώτη φιλοσοφία.


§ 10. The formation of the scholastic disciplines of logic, physics, and ethics as the decline of philosophizing proper.


§ 11. The changeover from the technical meaning of μετά in the word 'metaphysics' to a meaning conceived in terms of content.


a) The technical meaning off μετά after (post). Metaphysics as the technical title for an embarrassment in the face πρώτη φιλοσοφία.


b) The meaning of μετά with respect to content: over beyond (trans). Metaphysics as a designation and interpretation of πρώτη φιλοσοφία with respect to content: science of the suprasensuous. Metaphysics as a scholastic discipline.


§ 12. The inherent incongruities of the traditional concept of metaphysics.


a) The trivialization of the traditional concept of metaphysics: the metaphysical (God, immortal soul) as a being that is at hand, albeit a higher one.


b) The confused state of the traditional concept of metaphysics: the combining of the two separate kinds of lying out beyond (μετά) as pertaining to suprusensuous beings and to the unsensuous characteristics of the being of beings.


c) The unproblematic nature of the traditional concept of metaphysics.


§ 13. The concept of metaphysics in Thomas Aquinas as historical evidence for the three features of the traditional concept of metaphysics.


§ 14. The concept of metaphysics in Franz Suarez and the fundamental character of modern metaphysics.


§ 15. Metaphysics as a title for the fundamental problem of metaphysics itself. The result of our preliminary appraisal and the demand to take action in metaphysics on the basis of being gripped by a metaphysical questioning.


Awakening a Fundamental Attunement in Our Philosophizing

Chapter One

Awakening a Fundamental Attunement in Our Philosophizing


§ 16. Coming to a preliminary understanding about the significance of awakening a fundamental attunement.


a) Awakening: not ascertaining something at hand, but letting what is asleep become wakeful.


b) The being-there and not-being-there of attunement cannot be grasped via the distinction between consciousness and unconsciousness.


c) The being-there and not-being-there of attunement on the grounds of man's being as being-there and being-away (being absent).


§ 17. Provisional characterization of the phenomenon of attunement: attunement as a fundamental way of Dasein, as that which gives Dasein its subsistence and possibility. The awakening of attunement as a grasping of Da-sein as Da-sein.


§ 18. Making sure of our contemporary situation and of the fundamental attunement that pervades it as the presupposition for awakening this fundamental attunement.


a) Four interpretations of our contemporary situation: the opposition of life (soul) and spirit in Oswald Spengler, Ludwig Klages, Max Scheler, and Leopold Ziegler.


b) Nietzsche's fundamental opposition between the Dionysian and Apollonian as the source of the four interpretations of our contemporary situation.


c) Profound boredom as the concealed fundamental attunement of the interpretations of our situation provided by the philosophy of culture.

Chapter Two

The First Form of Boredom: Becoming Bored by Something


§ 19. The questionableness of boredom. Awakening this fundamental attunement as letting it be awake, as guarding against it falling asleep.


§ 20. The fundamental attunement of boredom, its relation to time, and the three metaphysical questions concerning world, finitude, individuation.


§ 21. The interpretation of boredom starting from that which is boring. That which is boring as that which holds us in limbo and leaves us empty. The questionableness of the t hree conventional schemata of interpretation: the cause-effect relation, something psychological, and transference.


§ 22. Methodological directive for the interpretation of becoming bored: avoiding the approach of an analysis of consciousness, and maintaining the immediacy of everyday Dasein: interpretation of boredom in terms of passing the time as our immediate relation to boredom.


§ 23. Becoming bored and passing the time.


a) Passing the time as a driving away of boredom that drives time on.


b) Passing the time and looking at our watch. Becoming bored as being affected in a paralysing way by time as it drags.


c) Being held in limbo by time as it drags.


d) Being left empty by the refusal of things, and an insight into its possible connection with being held in limbo by time as it drags.

Chapter Three

The Second Form of Boredom: Being Bored with Something and the Passing of Time Belonging to It


§ 24. Being bored with something and the kind of passing the time pertaining to it.


a) The need for a more original grasp of boredom in order to understand the structural link between being held in limbo and being left empty.


b) Being bored with something and the transformed manner of passing the time: passing the time as that with which we are bored.


§ 25. Contrasting the second form of boredom with the first with respect to the essential moments of being held in limbo and being left empty.


a) General contrasting of the two forms of boredom with one another from the point of view of that which is boring: determinate and indeterminate boring things. The apparent absence of being held in limbo and being left empty in the second form of boredom.


b) Obstructive casualness as the deepening manner in which we are left empty by what is boring us. Being left empty in a self-forming emptiness.


c) Not being released from our time as being held in limbo to time in its standing.


§ 26. The structural unity of the two structural moments of being bored, grounded in a making-present that brings the time taken to a stand. Boredom as springing from the self-temporalizing temporality of Dasein.


§ 27. Concluding characterization of being bored with something: the peculiarity of that passing the time which belongs to it as the way in which whatever is boring arises out of Dasein itself.


§ 28. The second form of boredom as becoming more profound in contrast to the first.

Chapter Four

The Third Form of Boredom:
Profound Boredom as 'It Is Boring for One'


§ 29. Prerequisites for penetrating into the essence of boredom and of time: questioning the conception of man as consciousness, and the way in which the essence of boredom opens itself up in its depth.


§ 30. No longer permitting any passing the time as understanding the overpowering nature of profound boredom. Being compelled to listen to what profound boredom gives us to understand.


31. Concrete interpretation of profound boredom along the guiding thread of being left empty and being held in limbo.


a) Being left empty as Dasein's being delivered over to beings' telling refusal of themselves as a whole.


b) Being held in limbo as being impelled toward what originally makes Dasein possible as such. The structural unity of being left empty and being held in limbo as a unity of the expanse of beings' telling refusal of themselves as a whole, and of the singular extremity of what makes Dasein possible.


32. The temporal character of profound boredom.


a) Being entranced by the single threefold horizon of time as the temporal character of being left empty.


b) Being impelled through the entrancement of time toward the moment of vision as the temporal character of being held in limbo. The temporal unity of being left empty and being held in limbo.


§ 33. The essential meaning of the word 'boredom' or 'Langeweile': the lengthening of the while in profound boredom as the expansion of the temporal horizon and the vanishing of the extremity of a moment of vision.


§ 34. Summary 'definition' of profound boredom as a more incisive directive for interpreting boredom and as preparation for the question concerning a particular profound boredom in our contemporary Dasein.


§ 35. Temporality in a particular way of its temporalizing as that which properly bores us in boredom.


§ 36. The ordinary assessment of boredom and its suppression of profound boredom.

Chapter Five

The Question Concerning a Particular Profound Boredom as the Fundamental Attunement of Our Contemporary Dasein


§ 37. Reconsideration of the question concerning a profound boredom as the fundamental attunement of our Dasein.


§ 38. The question concerning a particular profound boredom in the direction of a specific being left empty and a specific being held in limbo.


a) The essential need as a whole and the absence (telling refusal) of any essential oppressiveness in our contemporary Dasein as being left empty in this particular profound boredom.


b) The most extreme demand on Dasein as such, simultaneously announced in the telling absence of an:y oppressiveness (the moment of vision that is simultaneously announced) as the being held in limbo of this particular profound boredom.


Really Asking the Metaphysical Questions to Be Developed from the Fundamental Attunement of Profound Boredom. The Question: What Is World?

Chapter One

The Metaphysical Questions to Be Developed from the Fundamental Attunement of Profound Boredom


§ 39. The questions concerning world, individuation, and finitude as what is given to questioning through the fundamental attunement of profound boredom in our contemporary Dasein. The essence of time as the root of the three questions.


§ 40. The way in which the three questions are to be asked.


§ 41. The beleaguering of the three questions by tradition and by sound common sense.

Chapter Two

The Beginning of Metaphysical Questioning with the Question of World. The Path of the Investigation and Its Difficulties


§ 42. The path of a comparative examination of three guiding theses: the stone is worldless, the animal is poor in world, man is world-forming.


§ 43. The fundamental difficulty with respect to content and method in determining the essence and accessibility of life.


§ 44. Summary and renewed introduction following the vacation: metaphysics as comprehensive questioning; awakening the fundamental attunement of profound boredom; the metaphysical questions to be developed from the fundamental attunement. Guidelines for correctly understanding this talk a!:lout the fundamental attunement of philosophizing.

Chapter Three

The Beginning of the Comparative Examination, Taking the Intermediate Thesis That the Animal Is Poor in World as Our Point of Departure


§ 45. The propositional character of this thesis and the relation between metaphysics and the positive sciences.


a) The thesis that 'the animal is poor in world' as a statement of essence and a presupposition of zoology. The circular movement of philosophy.


b) The thesis that 'the animal is poor in world' as a statement of essence and a presupposition of zoology. The circular movement of philosophy.


§ 46. The thesis that 'the animal i s poor in world' in relation t o the thesis that 'man is world-forming'. The relation between poverty in world and world-formation does not entail hierarchical assessment. Poverty in world as deprivation of world.


§ 47. The thesis that 'the animal is poor in world' in relation to the thesis that 'the stone is worldless'. Worldlessness as not having access to beings. Provisional characterization of world as the accessibility of beings.


§ 48. The sense in which the animal has and does not have world: attaining a place from which to begin the elucidation of the concept of world.

Chapter Four

Clarification of the Essence of the Animal's Poverty in World by Way of the Question Concerning the Essence of Animality, the Essence of Life in General, and the Essence of the Organism


§ 49. The methodological question concerning the ability to transpose oneself into other beings (animal, stone, and man) as a substantive question concerning the specific manner of being that belongs to such beings.


§ 50. Having and not having world as the potentiality for granting transposedness and as necessarily being refused any going along with. Poverty (deprivation) as not having, yet being able to have .


§ 51. Initial clarification of the essence of the organism.


a) The questionable character of that conception which understands the organ as an instrument and the organism as a machine. A cursory elucidation of the essential distinctions between equipment, instrument, and machine.


b) The questionable character of the mechanistic conception of vital movement.


§ 52. The question concerning the essence of the organ as a question concerning the character of the animal's potentiality as possibility. The serviceability of equipment as readiness for something, the serviceability of the organ as capacity for something.


§ 53. The concrete connection between capability and the organ which belongs to it as subservience, as distinct from the serviceability of equipment.


§ 54. The intrinsically regulative character of that which is capable, as distinct from the prescription governing ready-made equipment. Self-driving toward its wherefore as the instinctual character that drives capacity.


§ 55. Inquiring into the achievement of the organ taken into service in terms of subservient capacity.


§ 56. More penetrating clarification of the elucidated essence of capacity in order to determine the essence of the organism (the holistic character of the organism): proper being or proper peculiarity as the manner of being specific to the animal and its way of being proper to itself.


§ 57. The organism as endowed with capability articulating itself into capacities creating organs-as the manner of being specific to that proper peculi arity endowed with capability and creating organs.


§ 58. The behaviour and captivation of the animal.


a) Preliminary interpretation of behaviour as the wherefore of animal capability. Animal behaviour as drive in distinction from human comportment as action.


b) The animal's absorption in itself as captivation. Captivation (the essence of the peculiarity proper to the organism) as the inner possibility of behaviour.


§ 59. Clarification of the structure of behaviour in a concrete way: the relationality of animal behaviour, as distinct from the relationality of human action.


a) Concrete examples of animal behaviour drawn from experimental research.


b) General characterization of behaviour: captivation as the animal's having any apprehending of something as something withheld from it, and as being taken by something. The exclusion of the animal from the manifestness of beings.


§ 60. The openness of behaviour and captivation, and what it is that the animal relates itself to.


a) The eliminative character of behaviour.


b) Animal behaviour as encircled by a disinhibiting ring.


§ 61. Concluding delimitation of the essential concept of the organism.


a) The organism as the capability for behaviour in the unity o f captivation. The animal's being bound to its environment (self-encirclement open to disinhibition) as the essential structure of behaviour.


b) Two essential steps in biology: Hans Driesch and Jakob Johann von Uexküll.


c) The incompleteness of our present interpretation of the essence of the organism: the lack of any determination of the essence of motility belonging to the living being.

Chapter Five

Unfolding the Guiding Thesis That 'the Animal Is Poor in World' on the Basis of the Interpretation of the Essence of the Organism at Which We Have Arrived


§ 62. Being open in captivation as a not-having of world in having that which disinhibits.


§ 63. An objection raised by ourselves to the thesis concerning the nothaving of world as deprivation and poverty of the animal. Removing the force of this objection.

Chapter Six

The Thematic Exposition of the Problem of World through an Examination of the Thesis That 'Man Is World-forming'


§ 64. The primary characteristics of the phenomenon of world: the manifestness of beings as beings and the 'as'; the relation to beings as letting be and not letting be (comportment toward, orientation, selfhood).


§ 65. The undifferentiated manifestness of the various kinds of beings that are present at hand. The slumbering of the fundamental relationships of Dasein toward beings in everydayness.


§ 66. The manifestness proper to living nature, and the transposedness of Dasein into the encircling contextual ring of living beings as our peculiar fundamental relationship toward them. The manifoldness of the specific manners of being, their possible unity, and the problem of world.


§ 67. The question concerning the occurrence of manifestness as the point of departure for the question concerning world. Return of the question concerning world-formation and world to the direction disclosed by the interpretation of profound boredom.


§ 68. Provisional delimitation of the concept of world: world as the manifestness of beings as such as a whole. General elucidation of world-formation.


§ 69. A first formal interpretation of the 'as' as a structural moment of manifestness.


a) The connection between the 'as', as the structural linking pertaining to relation and relational terms, and the propositional statement.


b) The orientation of metaphysics toward the λόγος and toward logic as the fundamental reason why the problem of world has not been unfolded in an originary manner.


§ 70. A fundamental methodological consideration concerning the understanding of all metaphysical problems and concepts. Two fundamental forms of misinterpretation.


a) The first misinterpretation: the examination of philosophical problems as something present at hand in the broad sense. Formal indication as a fundamental character of philosophical concepts.


b) The second misinterpretation: the false interconnection of philosophical concepts, and their isolation from one another.


§ 71. The task of returning to the originary dimension of the 'as', taking an interpretation of the structure of the propositional statement as our point of departure.


§ 72. Outline of the propositional statement (λόγος ἀποφαντικός) in Aristotle


a) The λόγος in its general conception: discourse as meaning (σημαίνειν), giving something to be understood. The occurrence of agreement that holds together (γένεται σύμβολον—κατὰ συνθήκην) as condition of the possibility of discourse.


b) Discourse as exhibiting (λόγος ἀποφαντικός) in its possibility of revealing- concealing (ἀληθεύειν-ψεύδεσθαι).


c) Apprehending something as something in forming a unity (σύνθεσις νοημάτων ὥσπερ ἕν ὄντων), the 'as' -structure, as the essential ground of the possibility of the revealing-concealing pertaining to the λόγος as exhibiting.


d) The apprehension of something as something in forming a unity in the affirmative and negative assertion as a taking together that takes apart (σύνθεσις—διαίρεσις).


e) The pointing out (ἀπόφανσις) pertaining to assertion as letting beings be seen as what and how they are.


f) Summary of the essential definition of the simple assertion and the determination of its individual components (ὄνομα, ῥῆμα).


g) Connectedness (σύνθεσις) as the meaning of the 'is' in the assertion.


h) What-being, that-being, and being true as possible interpretations of the copula. The undifferentiated manifold of these meanings as the primary essence of the copula.


§ 73. Return to the ground of the possibility of the structure of assertion as a whole.


a) Indication of the connection between our inquiring back and the guiding problem of world.


b) The point of departure of our inquiry back from the inner construction of the essence of the assertion: the 'either/or' potential of the revealing and concealing that points out and expresses being in the 'both/and' of ascribing and denying.


c) Being free, pre-logical being open for beings as such and holding oneself toward the binding character of things as the ground of the possibility of assertion.


d) Pre-logical being open for beings as completion (as a prior forming of the 'as a whole') and as an unveiling of the being of beings. The tripartite structure of the fundamental occurrence in Dasein as the originary dimension of the assertion.


§ 74. World-formation as the fundamental occurrence in Dasein. The essence of world as the prevailing of world.


§ 75. The 'as a whole' as the world, and the enigmatic distinction between being and beings.


§ 76. Projection as the primordial structure of the tripartite fundamental occurrence of world-formation. The prevailing of world as that of the being of beings as a whole in the projection of world that lets it prevail.

Appendix: For Eugen Fink on His Sixtieth Birthday367

Editor's Epilogue370

Postscript to the Second Edition374


The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics (GA 29/30) [GA App]